On Thursday 29th July FWB Park Brown hosted the latest in their COP26 series, welcoming Michael Groves, Founder and CEO of Topolytics. Topolytics is a data aggregation and analysis company, making the world’s waste visible, verifiable and valuable.
The session opened with an in-depth presentation from Michael, exploring his personal journey to Topolytics as well as the progress the company has made and seeks to make in the waste sector. As a geographer, Michael was drawn to the world of sustainability through his international career journey. As a self-proclaimed environmentalist, Michael envisaged a company which could work in an environmentally positive context within the commercial world. From this primary aim, Topolytics was formed.
For Topolytics, the data around waste presents an interesting challenge. Evaluating factors like type of waste, how waste is processed, where processing occurs, and ultimately where the waste ends up is essential to understanding the impact of waste material. Despite the connotations of “waste”, these materials have significant potential to generate value for waste producers, the waste and recycling industry, as well as for investors and policy makers. Despite waste being perceived as less “glamorous” than the likes of green energy, waste deserves significant attention for the opportunity it presents.
At both commercial and domestic levels, waste materials entering downstream are increasing significantly on an annual basis. Globally, more than 60% of this material is being lost through landfill, or by leaking out of the waste management system. Despite the value waste materials hold, they need to be recovered and captured. Through application of platforms like Topolytic’s WasteMap®, it is possible to overcome the inaccuracies and data vacuums which currently limit greater recovery of waste at a global level.
The conversation around waste is growing, and the area is receiving the vital attention it deserves. As well as exploring energy, the COP26 Summit will focus on the materials nexus in relation to climate change, with factors such as energy required to extract, move and handle waste materials being of key importance. As well as this, there will continue to be focus on the circular economy in relation to waste, and resource efficiency. What is clear is that aspirational goals for saving the planet are not realistic. In order to make meaningful change, we must align our perspective to view waste as an opportunity, not a threat.
For more information on our COP26 Leadership Series, please view the full brochure: COP26 Leadership Series Brochure
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